New York City Mayor Bloomberg was sent 2 anonymous letters that both tested positive for the castor-bean derived poison ricin, according to police sources.
Mail handlers on Friday in New York and on Sunday in Washington, D.C., opened the suspicious letters. Sunday’s letter was opened up at the headquarters of the nonprofit organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which receives some of its funding from the mayor.
Mayor Bloomberg has been vocal in his efforts at controlling and regulating the use of guns. The letters, which were addressed to the mayor, also mentioned threats related to the gun control debate that is raging across America.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the writer of the identical letters threatened Mr. Bloomberg, one of the nation’s most vocal advocates for gun control, and made references to the debate on gun laws. In 2006, Mr. Bloomberg founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns and has since become one of the nation’s most prominent advocates espousing gun control.
According to police, initial tests have confirmed that both letters contained traces of the deadly poison, ricin.
A police spokesperson earlier said that some of the officers who examined the letters in New York are experiencing symptoms of ricin poisoning. At the time, they said that they knew of no civilians that had also experienced similar symptoms.
CNN has reported that some of the mail workers who handled the letters have experienced mild symptoms that indicate they came into contact with ricin, but that is unconfirmed as of now.
Also according to CNN, both letters were sent from the same postmark, and conclusive results should be available within the next day. The amount of ricin the letters contained is so far unknown.
A male employee assigned to the mayor’s mail room in Manhattan, according to a law-enforcement official said, discovered the first letter on Friday around 2:00 p.m.
The letter, the mail room employee stated, had no return address. After the letter was opened within a “containment machine,” the employee noted a “pink oily substance” that was found along with the letter. Threatening language over gun rights was a major theme of the letter, according to a police official.
The letter in Washington, D.C., was opened by Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the police said. Glaze was working out of a lobbying firm office when the letter was delivered.
One of the spokesmen for the New York Police Department, Paul Browne, said that the threats in the letters are being investigated by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the NYPD division responsible for the mayor’s protection.
The have been several other attempts by people to mail ricin-laced letters to politicians. President Barack Obama was mailed one such letter this past April.
Written by: Douglas Cobb